What are Some of the Biggest Problems Facing Young Europeans Today?

@Gerson_Mercadal
Thank you for taking the time to answer questions here.
I see that you are quite involved with apologetics with young adults in colleges and universities in Europe. I like to ask, what do you see as the biggest problem facing young Europeans today and what do you think has been the root cause of this problem.

Thank you and God Bless

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Hello Luke! It’s great that you’re here, thanks for the question. I am sure that many of my colleagues would have very interesting things to say to this as well, offering different replies.

I think one thing that one issue that runs through our culture and many of the people I speak to is the difficulty to find, establish or found an identity for themselves. Without God, or even community, young people like me would be left to either find their identity in external things (we may call this idols), assert it and its value for themselves, or give up the idea of a solid identity. In all of these cases, the result is an endless race for definition and satisfaction, without a clear end, and depending on our own achievements or on the things we place our hope upon. Needless to say, these almost always fail, and they are never enough.
I think the roots of this problem can be traced back from the Enlightenment and modernity to our current post-truth culture, with all its issues. I see in many of the people I met a sort of fragmentation of the self, fueled by social media and the lack of clear goals and life-models.

I would add, however, that this big issue, which may well be related to the increases in many of our countries of anxiety, depression and suicide, presents a tremendous opportunity as well.
Many people are discovering that you cannot find or build your own identity; not in a satisfactory and stable manner. It will always fluctuate and one will never get rid of the shame and the fear.
But the good news is that God does not abandon us to our own self-definition. We are made in his image, but even better: In Jesus, “to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”. This is most definitely good news for our culture. We can find a firm identity as loved adopted children of God. It’s an identity that doesn’t fluctuate or depend on our achievements, but much to our joy, it is also an identity that allows for our flourishing and growth, as it is not static. It is a relationship, and that satisfies our desires for being rooted and yet free.

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Dear Gerson, @Gerson_Mercadal
Thank you, Sir, for taking the time to give me an answer. It’s interesting that you pointed out that youth there have been caught up in the changing external environments like cultural identity, which is causing deviation in spiritual foundations.

But isn’t personal identity and cultural identity a norm in society. Whether from biblical times until present environments. I do accept that there is more to absorb now, then 2000-3000 years ago.
But society has always adapted and evolved according to without any real loss to spirituality.

What is your opinion on the Family unit or structure today? From my understanding the West views on family values have deteriorated and that in turn has caused a ripple effect that is being personified in many people moving from any theistic beliefs.

I lived West for over 20 years and I had a cultural shock when I returned East, where family values and adherence is still foundational in the societal framework.

Is there a deterioration in the family structure and has it been instrumental in the current identity crisis facing youth today.

Your answer gives me a very clear view of the problems facing the youth there. Greatly appreciated. God Bless

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Hello Luke! I think you make a helpful point: Identity, questions and battles around it, have always been at the core of our society and our longings. I do not claim to be an expert on this issue. I learned a lot on this subject from Glynn Harrison. Although he touches on the subject of identity on most of his owrk, he has a book that centers on the subject called “The Big Ego Trip: Finding True Significance in a Culture of Self-esteem”.

When I replied, I was commenting on one of the biggest problems facing european youth, in my opinion. It doesn’t mean that this is the main reason people are leaving their faith (although I think it can be related). In fact, it can be a great issue from which to point to Jesus.

I think the reason why the loss of identity, or confusion over it, may be more pressing today is a cocktail of extreme individualism, social networks and fragmentation of the self, and a loss of confidence in the truth; these are all relatively new phenomenons, at least in such a widespread cultural way. I am sure, as you point, that these ideas can also damage our idea of family, especially those of extreme individualism and a loss of truth. Our post-truth culture emphasises, or tries to, that we should believe that which feels right for us. At the core, apart from unliveable, it can be a tremendously self-centered view of reality.

I recommend checking out the author I mentioned, Glynn Harrison. You can also find him on Youtube I am sure.

Thank you for this question Luke,

Blessings,
G

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Thank you, Sir, @Gerson_Mercadal
I will definitely check up on those resources. The reason, I must explain my question, is trying to identify the detachment with Millennials and The Gospel of Penal Substitutionary Atonement.

In my country, there is a great movement amongst millennials who are now seeking identity, purpose, a chance to make a difference in society, meaningful relationships and a desire for authenticity. I find that even with strong family foundations and Islamic upbringing, many are being exposed to a shrinking of the world in areas of technology, education, social interaction etc, and are now seeking more than what is within their own reality.

It is an opportunity here to find a way to build relationships with them. Western culture is going through the post-explosion of this paradigm shift and I was searching for ideas and reasons that I could anchor my approach here in talking to them here.

I greatly appreciate your time and patience in answering my questions and will definitely check up on those resources mentioned.

God Bless

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